AUSTIN, Texas – The governors of Texas and Louisiana declared states of emergency prior to Hurricane Harvey reaching landfall over the weekend, triggering each state’s price gouging laws. Price gouging is defined as the increase in prices or value for goods and services that are higher than the prices ordinarily charged for comparable goods and services at or immediately before the time of a state of emergency.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott declared the state of disaster in the counties of Aransas, Austin, Bee, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Brazoria, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Harris, Jackson, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Liberty, Live Oak, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Wailer, Wharton and Wilson.
“The actual language of the statute says that it is illegal price gouging when there are ‘items of necessity,’ fuel, food, medicine, when those items are sold at an exorbitant or excessive price,” said Paul Singer with the Texas Attorney General’s consumer protection division in a Texas Public Radio report.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry reminded residents to beware of price gouging. “It is an unfortunate reality that some people and businesses attempt to take advantage of consumers during and after natural disasters,” said Landry. “I strongly encourage consumers who suspect price gouging to contact their local law enforcement agencies.”